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Mainstreaming climate change adaptation into development planning: a guide for practitioners

Publication date:
P. Dobie (ed)
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Climate change poses a risk to the development and achievement of Millenium Development Goals (MDGs). It affects livelihoods, health and economic development, yet efforts to mainstream climate change adaptation into national development planning are still at a relatively early stage in many countries. Increasingly, countries are coming to realise that, in the long term, climate change adaptation needs to be supported by an integrated, cross-cutting policy approach. This guide addresses the need for integrating climate change adaptation considerations into the work of the Poverty-Environment Initiative (PEI). The guidebook reasons that development affects a country’s vulnerability to the adverse effects of climatic instability as well as its capacity to adjust and adapt. It adds that a country’s adaptation response should be formulated as part of broader policies for development, including areas not directly related to climate change. It defines mainstreaming climate change adaptation as the process of integrating adaptation considerations into policy-making, budgeting and implementation processes at the national, sector and sub-national levels.The framework proposed in this guide consists of the following components:

Finding the entry points and setting the stage for mainstreaming adaptation into policy processes.
Focusing on integrating adaptation issues into an ongoing policy process, such as a national development plan.
Meeting the implementation challenge aims to ensure mainstreaming of climate change adaptation into budgeting and financing, implementation and monitoring, and the establishment of mainstreaming as standard practice.

The guidebook offers the following ways of meeting the implementation challenge:

Strengthening the national monitoring system – an important prerequisite for informed decision-making on adaptation is that it is based upon the best available information on the implications of current and future climate change for a country.
Budgeting and financing measures for climate change adaptation – to ensure progress towards climate change adaptation, policy measures should be accompanied by suitable budgetary allocations.
Supporting implementation at national, sector and sub-national levels – collaborating with national, sector and sub-national bodies to build their capacities to implement policy measures for adaptation.
Strengthening institutions and capacities – the overall objective is the long-term strengthening of institutions and capacities to establish mainstreaming of climate change adaptation as standard practice in government.

The guidebook concludes that by continuing this work, practitioners can help ensure that climate change adaptation is factored in a way that reduces poverty, promotes sustainable economic growth and helps achieve the Millennium Development Goals.